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Guitar tabs for beginners

Updated on April 18, 2011

Hi,this hub is about guitar tabs for beginners, that's getting the feeling of making music which is of course a quite natural sensation, makes you feel good, people take notice when you play, attracts the opposite sex - well they may show some interest. Whatever,here we are.

I will try to show you the basics about getting started with the guitar.*Please take it a step at a time.Don't just jump down the page and pick bits out.You will only get frustrated and disheartened if you do that. Do bit,take a break,then come back do a bit more..and so on. Even mark the the page in your favorites.

The beginning.

Guitar tabs or tablature, as it is sometimes called, is a very old way of music notation or writing music down so other musicians can understand the song. They can be used for other instruments as well as the guitar,like the drums,banjo and a number of others.To start we will look at a blank tab of a guitar.Picture 1 below.

A blank guitar tablature - Picture 1

Guitar tabs for beginners:- Picture 1,a blank guitar tablature.
Guitar tabs for beginners:- Picture 1,a blank guitar tablature.

Now you see the 6 horizontal lines, they are the 6 guitar strings. The bottom of the tablature staff starts with the low E string (the thickest string), then come strings A, D, G, B and the high E string (the skinniest) is on top of the staff,just as in the picture 1 above.

Next we are going to put numbers on the tablature lines. The numbers tell you what frets you have to place your finger on. A 1 means you have to put your finger on the first fret of the appropriate string, 2 means the second fret, 3 the third one, ... A 0 on a guitar tab means and open string. So lets see how you go about learning guitar chords.

Here's an example to make it more clear for you: the guitar tab for the C chord:

Guitar tab,picture 2, C chord

Guitar tabs for beginners:- Guitar tab,picture 2, C chord
Guitar tabs for beginners:- Guitar tab,picture 2, C chord

The picture above is the Chord 'C' using traditional type of notation.While the same can be represented by a Tab seen below.

C chord represented in tab form.

Guitar tabs for beginners:- C chord represented in tab form.
Guitar tabs for beginners:- C chord represented in tab form.

That was a Strum!

In the above notations the pictures represented a Strum. All the numbers were all together,or on top of each other if you like.When you see that,it means all the indicated notes should be play together and at the same time.Thats called a strum,they are stummed together. You are now playing a chord.

In the next example,below,you will see the numbers follow each other. So now the notes follow each other in time and should be played after each other as you play.

Notes follow each other.

Guitar tabs for beginners:- Notes follow each other as you play.
Guitar tabs for beginners:- Notes follow each other as you play.

In the example above,you play the 5th fret on the low E string first.Then the 3rd fret on the same string,next the 5th again,now move up to the 3rd fret on the A string and so on.

That's the basics on playing guitar tabs but there's more.We need cover a few more symbols you will see on tabs.

The Pull off. Here you play the second note of the tab.Not by using your pick but pulling your finger of the 7th fret,while another finger is on the 5th fret.See the little 'p' on the tab below.

The 'Pull off'.see the little 'p'on the tab.

Guitar tabs for beginners:- The 'Pull off'.see the little 'p'on the tab.
Guitar tabs for beginners:- The 'Pull off'.see the little 'p'on the tab.

The Slide. The next guitar technique is called the slide.You do this by sliding your finger from the 5th fret to the 7th fret without lifting your finger,as shown below

The Slide.See the little 's' on the tab.

Guitar tabs for beginners:- The Slide.See the little 's' on the tab.
Guitar tabs for beginners:- The Slide.See the little 's' on the tab.

We have now covered the most used guitar techniques on guitar chords and seen on tabs.There are other more advanced techniques but we are only doing beginners here so we shall leave that for now.

Guitar tabs are sometimes combined with the standard note script as seen in the big staff below - nearly at the bottom of the page. When you first see it, It looks a bit scary but take closer look.This is useful as you can see the guitar tab and the the rhythm.Rhythm is not shown on guitar tabs.


I hope you have found this little guide helpful. This is only a beginners outline but the real musical pleasure comes after learning and practicing. Practice and yet more practice. The feeling of music coming from your instrument, seeing the reaction the faces on people around you, is quite magical when you really can play well. As in most things, there is a price to pay. That is learning, understanding and practice. Courses can help, you have to put yourself into it, to get the pleasure and rewards that are waiting for you on the other-side. Many, many people have done this, you can too. Don't give up! You can do it.

Well this just about rounds off my page but I put a little example of how some of this used in a real song below. Which guitar to use? There is no real best guitar for beginners but you won't go far wrong with an acoustic one.



Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    thisishard 6 years ago

    im having a lotta trouble...... i still havent learnt the chords..... AHHHHH!!!!!

  • profile image

    Braden 6 years ago

    its really godo site it helped me a lot, but im still 80% stuck. but thanks anyways =D

  • profile image

    Cupcake_Girl 7 years ago

    I was looking for a beginner way to play harder songs. I just learned how to play yesterday and can play part of "Smoke on the Water". I wnated to learn how to play "Let the Rain" by Sara Barielles. Thanks for the help though!

  • profile image

    Hello 7 years ago

    Hey malc if u still answer this, i had a question, im trying to teach myself to play but i just cant get the rythm of the song, anyone plz help me. I also like this site it has helped me.

  • profile image

    bhavik 7 years ago

    grt work dude i loved it thanks

  • profile image

    Rachel 7 years ago

    Never picked up a guitar before tonight but wanted to play a bit of Nirvana, thought I better google a bit of information first. This made a lot of sense compared to some other sites. Thanks heaps. Here goes.... XO

  • profile image

    reeseha 7 years ago

    I asked for songs not to place fingers on frets,

    but it was still awesome thanks

    c ya l8er

    (see you later)


  • profile image

    guitartabsforbeginners 7 years ago

    Good article. Trudi, you hold the 5th string and pluck it, then press and release the 7th fret. You only pluck the first string and use the sustain to sound the string. Hammer ons and pull-offs work much better on an electric guitar.

    Easy Guitar Tabs-I am trying to build a site but I am having trouble putting tab on the page. Do you know what software other sites use so I can make my tab and then publish it.

  • profile image

    guitar boy 7 years ago

    i want to know how to do this doh reh on

  • profile image

    Angela  7 years ago

    It help me but i am still 95% stuck.

  • profile image

    Christina 7 years ago

    Thanks helped alot

  • profile image

    Trudi 7 years ago

    Thanks, this was a great help. Just one bit im still not sure about is the pull on/off. Does your example mean i keep one finger of the fretting hand on 5th fret of the A string and one finger touches then pulls away from the 7th fret of the same string, or do i kinda pluck the same string with another finger of fretting hand at the 7th fret. If im not using the pick how is the string "played" to create the you get what i mean!! Apart from that it was very very helpful. Im 42 years old and love the sound of guitar (especially the electric guitar). When i decided this year what the hell im gonna learn to play, many people laughed and thought i was going through a middle age crisis. I am really having fun (yes also getting frustrated) and glad i finally got started. So anyone who is struggling, i sympathise, but if its in your heart stick with it. Pages like this are a great help and there is loads of support out there, its never too late!!!!

  • profile image

    jay 7 years ago

    I just wanna say thanks and that I have been looking at tabs trying to figure them out and getting frustrated and then I stumbled on to your page and it all clicked I wanna say thank you so much awsome. Job and the people that say different are mindless nut bags great intro course it feels good learning something new. Have a happy holiday I hope you stick with the web site

  • profile image

    Caitlin Beadles 7 years ago

    Hey yaa thnx it useful your page and lessons now thnks to u am a pro of guitar

  • profile image

    ryuweaver 7 years ago

    i want to learn dango daikazoku.

  • profile image

    anela 7 years ago

    do i strum one string or all? im still confused but i really want to learn how to play :(

  • profile image

    leigh 7 years ago

    this help 0% i still can't play guitar

  • profile image

    Brandon 7 years ago

    Nice guide for begginers, iv'e been playing guitar for a while now and iv'e started to teach others, iv'e used this page a lot recently and it works really well!

    nice job!

  • profile image

    Chris Scoble 7 years ago

    Thanks mate i never wanted too learn guitar because the idea of chords scared me but thanks to this demonstration i have confidence too learn guitar now. thanks

  • profile image

    en 7 years ago

    Thank you, this page helped me out of confusion.

  • profile image

    Robz 7 years ago

    wow im really confused with all this....wish i could play fade to black by metalica :( got anymore advice?

  • profile image

    arvind 7 years ago

    it is nice stuff dear friend my finger s tip are paining too much after the 1 month of practice now i cant touch the string so much is the pain please suggest

  • profile image

    sarah 7 years ago

    This was quite helpful.

    The one thing that would make it better is if you had clips of what the music was supposed to sound like.

  • profile image

    Huggy 7 years ago

    Very Helpful , Thank you

  • profile image

    em 7 years ago

    hey, i learned how to play tabs like 20 min ago and i already can play the first part of "wake me up when september ends" its really easy once you learn how (its only three notes but still..) so just get tabs from your fav songs and practice!

  • profile image

    guard 7 years ago

    Guitar players who know the names and location of all the notes on the fretboard have a distinct advantage over players who learn via guitar TAB. In fact, the guitar offers many alternative ways to play most musical phrases

  • profile image

    Jacqui.M 7 years ago

    this is better than what my Guitar teacher:)

  • profile image

    Aleisha 7 years ago

    Thank you sooo much, i've been playing for a couple of months now, and didnt really understand how to play tabs or anything, and the way that i was learning songs was really awkward. but i now understand.

    i think what confuses me the most is that the strings on the tabs are upside down to the way they are on the guitar. lol. it feels good to be able to play songs. i just have to keep practising so that i can play faster without having to stop and ask okay, where is that string/fret.

    thanks for your help :)

  • profile image

    LEXI 7 years ago


  • profile image

    cyn 7 years ago

    Hi is anyone who can give me a simple chords for whatever whatever whatever by maxwell for a begginer like me. i really love the song. i want it to play in guitar. i really appreciate if you can help me.

    thanks a lot.

  • profile image

    kelsey 7 years ago

    hey, this site helped me a lot! I'm a beginner, and I understand everything! except pull offs, that's still a little foggy, haha.

    but I just saw a lot of negative comments so I wanted to let you know that you did a good job. (: thanks!

  • profile image

    mits 7 years ago

    I have a piece of guitar tablature that looks like:


    Does this mean what it seems like:

    hold down 7th fret and pull off on the 8th fret followed by hammering on 7th fret? The music does not seem to fit and sounds better by playing the note on the 7th fret, hammering on the 8th which sounds the note on the 7th after.

  • profile image

    Guitar Tabs For Beginners 7 years ago

    Is it all songs that are not allowed to be published? and is it not even allowed to publish your own translation of tabs to a song? I don't hope it's a no to the last question, then I have some cleaning to do myself.

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 7 years ago from The UK

    Just updated my comments.

    Several people are looking for songs ect on this site.

    I'm not allowed to publish that stuff on here.

    I ran into copy write issues with publishers.

    There are resources on the web - just Google what your looking for.

    Thanks for all your comments.


  • profile image

    treovr  7 years ago

    this was very helpfull thanks alot

  • profile image

    zoe 7 years ago

    this is a great begginer lesson- very helpful. I'd like it if you put up some more tabs, though. I've been playing guitar for almost a year now and i love it!

  • profile image

    sebastian 7 years ago

    u should put some beatles songs~!!!!!!!

  • profile image

    skuxy 8 years ago

    put songs on there duuuuuuuuuh

  • profile image

    hippykid katie 8 years ago

    i need help!

  • profile image

    mike 8 years ago

    Great information for learning about the guitar. I taught myself the piano. Next year I will try learn to play guitar also.

  • profile image

    Greg 8 years ago

    I was looking for an easy song in tablature form, not how to play a C. This was too easy.

  • profile image

    Ebel 8 years ago

    Thanks man, I already knew tab and a few songs and whatnot but just lookin over your stuff and seeing what music can do for people was kinda cool.

  • profile image

    Acoustic Guitar Man 8 years ago

    Great Hub man

    Good beginner lesson

  • profile image

    cool 8 years ago

    thnxxx a lot

  • profile image

    yo dad 8 years ago

    ya rock on

  • profile image

    Uhh 8 years ago

    ;D My hands hurt from playing the guitar for so long. :S

  • profile image

    Damian 8 years ago

    That was excellent

  • profile image

    maxwell 8 years ago

    I want to learn about guitar and how to play guitar

  • profile image

    Affordable Entry Level Electric Guitars 8 years ago

    Great Instructions

    Here's a loose translation to one of Orianthi's guitar runs of the week.

    1st part







    second part







    Cheers Justin

  • profile image

    2nd day guitarist 8 years ago

    Thanks this helped me a lot!

  • profile image

    piggzy 8 years ago

    this is a finger exercises try it over and over







  • profile image

    makayla coss 8 years ago

    i realy think that learning the guitar is easy and fun it is the best thing that ever happened to me because it got me closer to the boy i like and he is realy cute so cute like justin bieber

  • profile image

    Ali Ahmad Bin Mohd Hanif 8 years ago i play more confident n quite goog

  • profile image

    Emily! 8 years ago

    Hey I also just got a guitar and can't wait to start playing...but I have NO IDEA how to. I mean I don't know one note. Can anyone help me out give me some urls and what-not?

  • profile image

    gg 8 years ago

    i just got my guitar and i will get lessons but i still dont get how to play the songs on the guitar

  • profile image

    bubba 8 years ago

    i cant read none of this stuff

  • profile image

    Liz 8 years ago

    Ok, so I'm TRYING to learn guitar (too cheap for lessons), and this really didn't help me. You really didn't explain WHERE these said frets are located, kind of confusing, and all I really learned from this was what frets are, and the notes of a guitar.

  • profile image

    fainter 8 years ago

    will u plz get some other links for other songs

  • profile image

    army3891 8 years ago

    just like a few other people i agree its confusing

  • profile image

    John 8 years ago

    Thank you that was very helpful and educational. =]

  • pinkhawk profile image

    pinkhawk 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

    this is's not easy than I think it was but I'm eager to learn something about music so I will not give up just like that...thank you again for sharing... :)

  • profile image

    Marissa 8 years ago

    thanks so much! this has helped a lot

  • profile image

    Beginners Guitar Lessons 8 years ago

    Great explanation on how to read guitar tabs, I have many in my time and not all are the best

  • profile image

    mark 8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this stuff.

  • profile image

    Tucker  8 years ago

    Awesome site. thanks.

  • nicksstuff profile image

    nicksstuff 8 years ago from Going for a swim in the ocean.

    Great hub man. Thanks for the detailed info and time you put into it. I understand what you are talking about. There is so much great info out there if you read the right stuff!

  • profile image

    Dee 8 years ago

    hey friend!!!

    it would be good if you add some would be a great help!!!!

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 8 years ago from The UK


    Hi yes I made a mess of that.Your quite right.

    I'll take it out as this is really only beginners.

    Thanks, Malc

  • profile image

    guitarlearner 8 years ago

    wat do you mean by hammering on or nammering on

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 8 years ago from The UK

    Hi Theresa,

    I did a Hub on that subject - Learning guitar chords.

    Learning a chord or two is only the start to actually playing your guitar.

    Like anything you want to well at, it takes time and practice.


  • profile image

    theresa 8 years ago

    this made me even more confused than i was. i just want to learn how to play a chord. if i wanted to learn all this stuff i'd take real lessons!

  • profile image

    Kim 8 years ago

    Great way to teach tabs, and easy to understand.

    Guitar tabs for beginners

  • profile image

    beginner 8 years ago

    the best! thanks!!!:D

  • profile image

    Salem 8 years ago

    Thank you soooo much!!!! You are awesome!!!!

  • profile image

    Waz Up?  8 years ago

    It really healp if you don't know how to read notes!

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 8 years ago from The UK

    randumskatergrl - All power to you! Glad I could help in some small way.


  • profile image

    randumskatergrl 8 years ago

    thanks to this site i am playing guitar again!!!!! i just got over a sevrly broken hand and wasnt able to practice my guitar for 2 years!! now i really suck but this site is helping me regain my talent!

  • profile image

    dizzygirl 8 years ago

    Hey cool site! since you're here to help beginners I figured I'd mention a site I came across recently that is claiming to have free video tutorials for players of all ages and talent. They are also promoting a tab player that is, according to them, the only device of it's kind. I found an article on harmony central originally but thought what the heck I'd pass it on.

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 8 years ago from The UK

    mastercheif - Sorry about that.

    Due too editorial issues I had to heavly revise this site. I'll take the referance to 'Horese with no name' out as it doesent make any sence now.


  • profile image

    mastercheif 8 years ago

    hey dude i dont know what the last part is like the thing for horse with no name it sounds nothing like it

  • profile image

    Jerry 8 years ago

    Thanks man I've been wanting to read tabs for a while and this helped alot.

    Now I am going to learn a new song....Keep up the good work!!!

  • profile image

    learningguitar 8 years ago

    hello, i went through your hub it is really wonderful and well- designed. i would like to tell you that i really liked your hub. oh god, you are terrific with your work. i think i better start trying hard.

  • profile image

    Steve 9 years ago

    I love guitar, and I had never tried to play my whole life. I picked up guitars but felt I was always way to far gone(old) to begin. I went out bought a guitar and downloaded then bought a guitar chord poster. I went on youtube and tryped in how to play 2 and 3 chord songs, easy guitar songs, etc. and now I am playing quite well. I understand all chords and notes and read tabs easy. I do practice every day when I find time here and there. I would say go to youtube and start there. Another thing I would say to motivate you is to learn an old song you heard when you were a kid. Play the old over and over again. You'll get better and you will want to move on to other songs. The chords will come with practice and repitition.Start with an easy song like knocking on heavens door by bob dylan. 3 easy starter chords, G,A,D then G,C,D

  • profile image

    Alex 2 9 years ago

    Yeah this sight was quite helpful, especially for a begginer such as myself.

    It was a big help but i would like to see some more TAB links posted.

    Thanx Malc.

  • profile image

    cody 9 years ago

    good site!!! but you need more songs for people to look at to play!!!!

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 9 years ago from The UK

    Becci / Casey.

    This not a 5 minute 'Wounder Course',I leave that to others. These pages I've popped up are just stepping stones to the art of playing your guitar.

    There is only one rule and thats Practice,Practice and even more Practice. Just like anything you want to get good at.


  • profile image

    becci 9 years ago

    thanx for the help but it wasn't much

  • profile image

    casey 9 years ago

    i just started to learn and everything still seems confuding ive got the nomber part down but everything else im confused. ill keep reading to see if it gets clearer

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 9 years ago from The UK

    MY PLEASURE! Malc.

  • profile image

    khamm 9 years ago

    HI, im a ameture guitarist and im glad you were able to demonstrate how this works, thinks bud.

  • profile image

    kory 9 years ago

    its is great help but im not sure if ill ever be able to read the actual notes i like the number but yeah it doesnt show you the rythm so i guess ill keep learning

  • profile image

    Justin 9 years ago

    this was a really good site but I was looking for something a little more advanced.

  • profile image

    belle 9 years ago

    thanks! this was really helpful!

  • profile image

    farah 9 years ago

    i don't know what is an AM and CM and DM all of this i don't understand

    and i want to learn lucky by jason mraz...

  • profile image

    Sam 9 years ago

    I understand the tabs and everything, but are there a few easy chords? I never learned these chords I learned them in easier form.

  • Easy Guitar Tabs profile image

    Easy Guitar Tabs 9 years ago from The UK

    Thanks Zauron X.

    Its nice to know at least someone like it. Malc

  • profile image

    Zauron X 9 years ago

    Hey mate, thanks a lot! this is really good help.

  • profile image

    lana 9 years ago

    this page was really confusing. i am trying to learn to play the guitar and all i can play is happy birthday. you just need to make this page less confusing

  • profile image

    mike 9 years ago

    hey tabs just had a guitar given to me an electric i also have an amp and a distortion pedal but haven't a clue how to play can you help me

  • profile image

    obder 9 years ago

    thanks for the help, but can you put some easy song tabs on?

    like easy punk songs just to get me started.



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